Your Eyes, Computer Tracking And The Bucs’ Offensive Line

September 16th, 2021

Offensive line computer data.

Let Joe be clear here: Joe absolutely loves the Bucs offensive line and as in the famous monologue/opening to one of Joe’s favorite movies, “Patton,” recited by George C. Scott portraying Gen. George S. Patton, Joe would be proud to go to battle with the Bucs’ offensive line “anytime, anywhere.”

Joe believes the Bucs offensive line had a fine night last week blocking for park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller-coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, helmet-tossing, football-punting, Bucs-Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

However, NextGen Stats, which uses tracking sensors embedded in players’ equipment, shows maybe the Bucs didn’t have as fine of a night as Joe witnessed.

Good? Mostly, yes. But not dominant. Seth Walder of BSPN documented what NextGen Stats tracking data of the front line, and it suggests the Bucs had an OK night.

With pass blocking, the line had a “win-rate” — or not allowing a blocker to get past them — of 55 percent, or 12th-best in the NFL in Week 1.

Run blocking? The Bucs had a win-rate of 71 percent or 10th-best.

Of course, this is just raw data. It doesn’t factor in who the Bucs are blocking (DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are strong edge rushers, for example) nor do these numbers document how much time Brady had to throw.

We could see with our own eyes Brady, for the most part, had plenty of time to scan the field and deliver accurate passes. And the goal of an offensive lineman when pass blocking isn’t to pancake or manhandle a rusher, but to give the quarterback time to throw without pressure.

This information doesn’t suggest the Bucs were dominant or bad. It’s more food for thought. And at the end of the day, no matter how one twists this intel, the offensive line was still in the top-half of the NFL.

More importantly, the Bucs won because their quarterback had time to throw. It all boils down to winning.

30 Responses to “Your Eyes, Computer Tracking And The Bucs’ Offensive Line”

  1. SlyPirate Says:

    It was crazy to see how many times Wirfs got beat. 6 times! Teams have tape on him now. Year 2 will be harder, but I have confidence he’ll use it to get better.

  2. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If Cowboys’ kicker doesn’t blow 1st half kicks, that final drive would’ve been alot more interesting..

  3. Joe Says:

    It was crazy to see how many times Wirfs got beat. 6 times!

    Where are you getting this from, those clowns at PFF? DeMarcus Lawrence (who was going up against Wirfs) had zero QB hits and zero QB pressures.

    That’s not what Joe calls Wirfs getting “beat.”

  4. godlovesbucs Says:

    If Godwin doesn’t fumble at the 1, that last drive wouldn’t have needed to happen.

  5. Robert Says:

    we got lucky week one. lucky TB is our QB and luck in general. you just don’t win games with that many penalties and TO’s.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If, if, if, if, if……

  7. Devin DiPalma Says:

    Thank you joe. I don’t think people understand what getting “beat” actually is for an offensive lineman. They can’t realistically be expected to pancake the defender every play.

    Our offense, including the line, is one of the best in the league. I think some Bucs fans are just scarred from all those years of sub par play and they can’t accept what they have right now.

  8. Devin DiPalma Says:

    Robert I like looking at it not from a “we got lucky” perspective. Instead I tend to think, if we can win when we have 11 penalties, 4 turnovers, and give up 29 points and 450 yards, what’s going to happen when we clean up the penalties and turnovers and our defense plays even halfway decent?

    If we clean it up and play even half as disciplined as we did last year, this team will be near impossible to beat.

  9. firethecannons Says:

    along with all this, the O-Line had no injuries, the way you play can cause injuries. Less mauling and pancaking and more give and take. Important not to sacrifice yourself early–take Jordan Whitehead–he sacrificed himself in the NFC championship–appropriate. Anyway–the O-line doesn’t have to be perfect but they have to keep Brady upright and clean and that they did.

  10. Joe Says:

    Devin DiPalma:

    Heard Phil Simms once say when he used to go on the road to cover games, he liked to listen to local sports radio to get a feel for the pulse of fans. He said like clockwork, no matter the outcome of a game, the next morning after a game fans would complain about the offensive line, win or lose.

    It’s just a habitual thing. Like this “Wirfs got beat six times.” There’s no evidence of that. Unless you consider Wirfs taking four steps back “getting beat.” The entire Cowboys defense had a total two quarterback hits for the whole game.

  11. Youngbucs Says:

    D Smith was getting pushed back also Brady helps the offensive line a lot but sacks will happen.

  12. Joe Says:

    D Smith was getting pushed back also

    That’s OK. In fact it’s a smart move to “get pushed back” for a tackle if he’s steering the edge rusher for a ride with him wide.

    The goal isn’t to manhandle or pancake. The goal is to keep a rusher away from the quarterback. If that means pushing him wide and behind Brady, so be it.

  13. Robert Says:

    @ DiPalma…

    I agree with your take,……..but this team has the tools, and should be ready to win games with Gabbert in there if needed.

    no excuse for that bad of play. The D had a little excuse as we had tier 2 players in the secondary and TB kept blitzing and leaving them to fend for themselves. Hope it helped them……..but the TO’s on offense were not acceptable.

    I’ll forgive the penalties, as the refs had it in for the Bucs.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    Ya gotta want it.

  15. PassingThru Says:

    Yep, the OTs push the EDGE rushers to the outside. Why?

    1. It helps use the EDGE rushers speed against them; OL play is about using leverage more than strength alone

    2. It forms a pocket. On the count of 4 or 5 Mississippi the QB can move up into the pocket to escape any pressure from the EDGE rushers (providing that the interior pocket holds).

  16. PassingThru Says:

    You see O Linemen advance with their blocking on a run play. Most O Linemen love run plays because they get a chance to dish out the punishment. On pass plays the OTs take an orderly retreat, pushing to the outside as I mentioned.

  17. Robert Says:

    when I played O Line @ Bedrock U, me and my boys used to toss the D around like boulders. They all soft now backin up!

  18. PassingThru Says:

    My favorite lines from Patton:

    Gen. Smith: “Our concern is that von Rundstedt has the 101st Airborne trapped here at Bastogne. Bastogne, by the way, is the key to this entire area. If we can hold it, we can break up the entire German offensive. If they take it, we’re in serious trouble. Ike wants to know if anybody can go and relieve the 101st before they’re torn to pieces.”

    Air Marshal Tedder: “There’s nothing Montgomery can do. At any rate, not for some weeks.”

    Gen. Smith: “What about you, George?”

    Gen. Patton: “I can attack with 3 divisions in 48 hours.”

    Gen. Bradley (disbelief): “Well I’d give myself some leeway if I were you.”

  19. ocala Says:

    The word “if” is primarily used by losers.

    As a lifelong Bucs fan I am used to hearing that word a bunch.

  20. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Yep but Al Bundy once scored . Nevermind . Where’s my beer.

  21. Joe Says:

    Yep, the OTs push the EDGE rushers to the outside.

    Ding, ding, ding, ding!

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “nor do these numbers document how much time Brady had to throw.”

    100% with Joe that once you factor that out completely the numbers are worthless.

    Gonna go to my first game at Raymond James in a while Sunday.

    LETS GO!

  23. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    I’d like to see where that 71% win rate on the rush blocking came from because it sure didn’t seem like they were winning much on that! Pass blocking was great. Seeing Brady have all that space in front of him with plenty of time to throw was beautiful. Brady pulling that bootleg that got Gronk that td shocked 22 million viewers. The announcers were really shocked. They thought our back up was out there. Brady running, who woulda thunk it? Great blocking and a healed knee helped with that!

  24. PassingThru Says:

    Stats in run blocking do sound suspect. I trust my eyes. Is the OLine producing running lanes? If yes, that tells you much more than summing up the individual performances on run blocking along the OLine.

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    Our run blocking was fine. RBs were getting positive yards beyond the line of scrimmage. That means theyre getting to the second level. I would say to keep feeding them and they are bound to break one but no need when your passing game is clucking like it was.

    And if your looking at pass blocking getting beat Id look at on play. The first long pass to Antonio Brown. Off the snap Wirfs clearly gets beat badly but he uses great positioning and forces the rusher to have to loop around Brady, Wirfs meets him behind Brady and keeps him from getting anywhere near Brady…………They probably consider that play getting beat but a win for D.Smith when his guy got Bradys arm nearly causing a fumble. Ill take the Wirfs play any day of the week and you can wipe your rear end with these rankings(havent we already learned this?)

  26. PassingThru Says:

    Leonard Fournette, 9 carries, 3.6 yards per carry, 7 yards longest run, 0 TDs
    Ronald Jones, 4 carries, 3.5 yards per carry, 5 yards longest run, 0 TDs

    Overall: 22nd in league on YPC. That’s anemic.

  27. JimmyJack Says:

    Passing Thru yeah it was anemic for the RBs. They werent able to make any tacklers miss and break off any runs.

    But if we are only talking about our Line and Run Blocking they were consistently getting the ball carrier to the 2nd level. The RBs job is to do the rest.

    That said if we keep doing our job up front eventually our backs will make some plays.

  28. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    “Gen. Smith: “Our concern is that von Rundstedt has the 101st Airborne trapped here at Bastogne. Bastogne, by the way, is the key to this entire area. If we can hold it, we can break up the entire German offensive. If they take it, we’re in serious trouble. Ike wants to know if anybody can go and relieve the 101st before they’re torn to pieces.”

    Off topic but to their grave, no member of the 101st has ever claimed to ‘needing to be saved’ by Patton. 🙂 Currahee!

  29. Brandon Says:

    Joe clearly understands pass blocking, the rest of you clowns don’t. You people are the ones that ran Donald Penn out of town blocking in an ineffective and antiquated system while scatter brained McCown or statue Glennon held onto the ball too long. Where is OC Marcus Arroyo now? High school QB coach?

  30. PassingThru Says:


    I was promised to be part of the Screaming Eagles (providing I passed the training) by a recruiting sergeant who said he’d write down Fort Bragg in the contract. I had no idea how enforceable that contract would be which is one of the reasons why I decided not to go. It was very tempting though.